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noun in·cen·di·ary \in-ˈsen-dē-ˌer-ē; -ˈsen-də-rē, -dyə-\

Definition of incendiary



  1. 1 a :  a person who commits arson :  arsonist b :  a substance or weapon (as a bomb) used to start fires

  2. 2 :  a person who excites factions, quarrels, or sedition :  agitator

Examples of incendiary in a sentence

  1. He was convinced that the arsonist was not at all what the town imagined: not brazen, but callow; not an expert incendiary noiselessly plying deer paths, but someone who was driving right up to his targets and fumbling with matches … —Barry Werth, New England Monthly, February 1989

  2. White phosphorus, an incendiary, is normally packed in thin-walled casings; the casing is effective for dispersing chemical agents as well. —Stephen Budiansky, Nature, 5–11 Apr. 1984

  3. The British had also made jellied gasoline with rubber, and it was generally recognized to be an excellent incendiary because of its easy ignition, high heat of combustion, and controlled burning rate. —B. & F. M. Brodie, From Crossbow to H-Bomb, 1973

  4. <firefighters caught the incendiary, who was watching the effects of his handiwork>

  5. <blamed the protests on outside incendiaries who were intent on overthrowing the government>

Origin and Etymology of incendiary

Middle English, from Latin incendiarius, from incendium conflagration, from incendere

First Known Use: 15th century

Other Weapons and Explosives Terms



adjective in·cen·di·ary \in-ˈsen-dē-ˌer-ē; -ˈsen-də-rē, -dyə-\

Simple Definition of incendiary

  • : containing chemicals that explode into flame : producing a fire

  • : causing anger

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of incendiary

  1. 1 :  of, relating to, or involving arson :  arsonous

  2. 2 :  tending to excite or inflame :  inflammatory <incendiary speeches>

  3. 3 a :  igniting combustible materials spontaneously b :  of, relating to, or being a weapon (as a bomb) designed to start fires

  4. 4 :  extremely hot <incendiary chili peppers>

Examples of incendiary in a sentence

  1. While visual effects experts work with images, mechanical effects experts work with machinery, tools, incendiary devices, and other equipment to manipulate physical events during live-action filming. —Patricia D. Netzley, Encyclopedia of Movie Special Effects, 2000

  2. In the mid-Eighties, heavy-metal music was the incendiary genre being demonized … —Alan Light, Rolling Stone, 18 Feb. 1993

  3. The only caveat … is to know one's own sensitivity to chili pepper heat. If a small or moderate dose of capsicum (the incendiary chemical component in chilies) makes you dash for a glass of ice water, this menu is not going to be fun for you. —Harvey Steiman, Wine Spectator, 15 Mar. 1991

  4. The fire was started by an incendiary bomb.

  5. <recklessly made incendiary remarks during a period of heightened racial tensions>

Origin and Etymology of incendiary

(see 1incendiary)

First Known Use: 15th century

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